On the short-lived Derrick RosePED saga

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On the short-lived Derrick RosePED saga

By: Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

The Derrick Rose story died down pretty quickly. In fact, if you were off-the-grid for whatever reason on Sunday, theres a good chance you missed the Rose saga all together. So heres a quick recap:

Basically, earlier this season, the Bulls point guard was asked a question about performance enhancing drugs in the NBA.

The question (by a reporter from ESPN the Magazine) was: "If 1 equals 'What are PEDs'? and 10 equals 'Everybody's Juicing' How big of an issue is illegal enhancing in your sport?"

To that, Roses quoted as saying: "Seven. It's huge, and I think we need a level playing field, where nobody has that advantage over the next person."

You can see why this would be a big deal

Anyway, the quote finally hit the mainstream on Sunday, and it picked up some media momentum. Pressed for a response, Rose released a statement that afternoon denying the story. He didnt recall being asked or answering the question. And in the event that he actually said those words, it was just a misunderstanding. He just didnt get the question.

He added: "But, let me be clear, I do not believe there is a performance enhancing drug problem in the NBA."

At the same time, there were numerous others defending Rose. A Bulls spokesman told CBS Sports that Rose would never say anything like that. Another source suggested Rose thought he was being asked how important it was for sports, in general, to be PED-free. That same CBS story cites a person close to Rose saying that he believed he was being asked,"How big of a problem would it be if steroid use were rampant in the NBA?

And that was sort of that. With the MVPs denial, and other reports (however contradictory they may have been), the Derrick Rose portion of this story essentially came to an end.

What else was there? Maybe theres an audio file of his answer, but even then theres no way to prove whether or not Rose understood the question. Its a lost cause. Why not just give Rose the benefit of the doubt and move on?

And thats pretty much what happened. Panic's been replaced by mild speculation, and the story's begun to fade. In the post game press conference on Sunday, PEDs didnt come up once.

One thing that helped: ESPN.com barely touched the story. It never made their home page, or was featured prominently on their NBA page. You know why they did it, but they did. ESPN may have started this with their magazine, but they were never going to perpetuate it. Instead, they buried it. And now, its essentially buried.

Still, theres one thing about this story that Ill always remember.

My reaction.

When I heard that Derrick Rose thought the NBA had a PED problem, my first instinct wasnt, No way! That cant be true! It was far more grim. Far more accepting. Basically, I believed it.

Was I disappointed? Sure, but nothing like that surprises me anymore. And yes, I know that the NBA tests four times a year, but its a player friendly system. Are we really that nave to think that athletes won't do something against the rules if it helps them win?

At some point over the last five years, every NBA fan has had the PED thought cross their mind at least once. Just a simple, You know, I wonder or something more than that. Theres the fact that some of these guys are now are bigger and stronger than just about any human being weve ever seen. There's the fact that Rashard Lewis got busted on PEDs two years ago and then saw his career fall off a cliff.

PEDs exist in this game. We know that. I dont think theres ever been a question that they're "around." But with the NBA, we just didnt know how bad or who, or for how long.

And we still dont.

With Roses retraction in the tank and back out of the publics eye, the PED issue will probably die back down again in the next few days. And maybe thats how it should be. Considering all the garbage thats going on in the NFL, and will go on in the NBA, its crazy to waste time talking about an issue like that while the Playoffs are in full swing, the drafts on the horizon. So for now, we're free to sit back and forget the whole thing ever happened. And hopefully it will stay that way.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

Patriots To-Do List: Figure out what’s up with Cyrus Jones

Patriots To-Do List: Figure out what’s up with Cyrus Jones

Personally, I would buy a crapload of stock in Cyrus Jones. In part because – after his nightmarish rookie season – stock can be bought on the cheap. But also because he’s too talented, too committed and too smart to suck like he did in 2016 when he handled punts like they were coated in uranium and never made a big contribution in the secondary.

Because of his disappointing year, Jones is an overlooked player on the Patriots roster, but he’s in a pivotal spot. With Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon approaching free agency, Malcolm Butler’s contract expiring after 2017, Pat Chung on the edge of 30 and a free agent after 2018 and the other corners being Justin Coleman, Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones, Cyrus Jones is going to get his shot.

The reason I included safeties Harmon and Chung in the discussion is that when the Patriots go to six DBs, roles are less stringently defined. And because of Jones’ size (5-10, 200), powerful build and short-area quickness, he can be the kind of versatile player who covers inside against quicker slot receivers as well as being on the outside if necessary. Kind of like Chung can cover on the back end or drop down to cover tight ends.

The Patriots are confident that Jones will get it right. His teammates in the secondary are unanimous in saying he’s got all the talent he needs.  

PATRIOTS TO-DO LIST:

But as 2016 wore on, it was apparent that Jones was miserable and let his failures consume him. Jones muffed or fumbled five kicks in the 2016 season.
 
By the time the Patriots played the Ravens on a Monday night in December, he was so inside his own head that he stalked a bouncing punt he had no business being near (for the second time that game) and had it bounce off his foot setting up a Ravens touchdown. That night, Jones exited the Patriots locker room and made his way to the players parking lot before the field was even clear of equipment.

Jones either expected things to come as easily in the NFL as they did at Alabama and wasn’t prepared to deal with adversity. Or the mistakes he made caused him to wonder if he really was good enough to play in the league.

Either way, Cyrus Jones was all about Cyrus Jones in 2016. And his comments to the Baltimore Sun over the weekend were evidence that the world he’s concerned with ends at the end of his nose. 

"I honestly felt cursed," he said. "I reached a point where I didn't even want to play. I just didn't have it...What I did this year was not me," he said. "I don't care how anybody tries to sugarcoat it. Yes, I was a rookie. But I feel I should always be one of the best players on the field, no matter where I am.
 
"But honestly, it was hell for me," he said. "That's the only way I can describe it. I didn't feel I deserved to be part of anything that was happening with the team. I felt embarrassed that these people probably thought they wasted a pick on me."

The first thing Jones needs to do this offseason is get over himself. He can look one locker down and talk to Devin McCourty about getting crushed for shaky play in 2012, battling through it and then turning into a Pro Bowl-level safety. He can talk to fellow Alabama product Dont'a Hightower about Hightower’s being benched in the 2013 season against the Broncos and labeled a bust before flipping his season around and being the team’s best defender by the end of that year.

But he’s going to have to figure it out. Draft status means nothing to New England and, as it now stands, undrafted corner Jonathan Jones out of Auburn has more demonstrated value to the team that Cyrus Jones does. In two months, the Patriots are damn sure going to add more secondary players.

This offseason, Jones needs to check his ego, simplify his game and simply ban outside perceptions from fans, media or coaches from infect his on-field decision-making.

His conversation with the Sun didn’t really indicate he’s ready to do that. Asked about criticism, Jones said, “It pisses me off. You can say shut it out or don't listen, but I know people are talking, and it's negative. I'm not a dumb guy. It definitely affects me. What it should do is piss me off in a way that I want to shut them all up."

From the limited number of times I spoke with him and from his teammates regard for him, I can confirm Jones isn’t a dumb guy. That doesn’t necessarily make life easier though. In 2016, Cyrus Jones’ brain got in the way. The Patriots need him to shut that thing off in 2017. 

Brady lists suspects in jersey theft: Edelman, Lady Gaga, Game of Thrones villain

Brady lists suspects in jersey theft: Edelman, Lady Gaga, Game of Thrones villain

The case of Tom Brady's missing Super Bowl jersey got a tad more serious on Tuesday as the Houston Police Department's report on the stolen No. 12 was published by TMZ. In it, police estimate the value of the jersey at a cool half-million dollars

Brady clearly took notice. 

Though he'd probably like to have the jersey back in short order, he took to Instagram on Wednesday to make light of the search. 

His investigation seemed to lead him toward a familiar face, Julian Edelman, who he describes as a "sneaky lil squirrel." 

To let his teammate know he means business, Brady pulled a quote from Good Will Hunting.

"Ya suspect, yeah you! I don't know what your reputation is in this town, but after that s@?# you pulled, you can bet l'll be looking into you!"